Skin Care

Lotion And Moisturizer: Everything You Need To Know

Lotion And Moisturizer: Everything You Need To Know

Lotion and moisturizer both hydrate your skin, but are they the same thing? Learn what you need to know about hydrating products to always look your best.

In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about lotion, moisturizer, and what options you have when your skin needs a little extra hydration.

What Are Lotions And Moisturizers?

Moisturizer is a broad term that encompasses many different products designed to support skin hydration. Lotions and creams are both forms of moisturizer, so let’s look more closely at these two hydrating skincare options in particular.

Lotion is a lightweight hydrating product with a thinner consistency than cream. It’s formulated to provide immediate hydration to the top layer of your skin without leftover residue or a heavy feel.

If you have normal or slightly dry skin, lotion can help hold moisture in your skin and keep it comfortable.

Cream, on the other hand, is thicker and more emollient than lotion. It can help repair your skin’s protective barrier, lock moisture in, and keep environmental pollutants out.

Since they’re thicker, creams take longer to absorb into your skin. This extra time means cream can penetrate layers of your skin that lotion can’t reach. A cream might be better if you have dry or flaky skin.

Lotion And Cream: Key Differences

As we mentioned above, lotion and cream are both moisturizing products. To help you decide which one you should use, let’s examine some essential differences between them in more detail.

Water Content

Your skin needs water to stay hydrated, and lotions and creams both contain water. In fact, it’s the first ingredient listed on the label for many brands of moisturizers.

But lotion contains more water with fewer oil droplets mixed in, so it’s thinner and easier to spread over your skin. The lower amount of oil also makes it feel less greasy.

Cream contains less water. This makes a rich, hydrating product that takes longer to absorb. But since there’s more oil in the formula, you may feel slightly greasy after you use it. That’s why some people prefer to apply moisturizing creams only at night.


Because a cream has more viscosity than a lotion, it’s thicker and similar to an ointment. This texture allows it to adhere better to your skin, helping create a protective barrier that locks moisture in.

Since it’s so thick, you rarely find cream in a pump bottle. Instead, it’s packaged in a jar or tube so you can squeeze or scoop it out.

Lotion, on the other hand, is lighter with a thinner consistency that quickly absorbs into your skin. You can pump some into your hand, rub it in on the fly, and go about your day without feeling any greasy residue.

Added Ingredients

Lotions and creams often contain ingredients in addition to water and oil. Each skincare company formulates its products differently, but the included components can affect how you use them.

For instance, sunscreen lotion includes a blend of SPF ingredients to protect your skin from UV rays. And lotions that contain retinol, glycolic acid, or other active ingredients can be used as part of a more intensive skincare routine.

Creams also often come with added benefits, like anti-aging and brightening. And certain creams are formulated with niacinamide or salicylic acid to help improve eczema or psoriasis symptoms.

Should You Use Lotion Or A Different Kind Of Moisturizer?

So, should you use lotion or a different type of moisturizer, like a cream? Well, it depends. There isn’t one correct answer.

When choosing between lotion and cream, try both! Experiment and see what works best for your skin type. Finding the perfect skincare products for your body and face may take some trial and error.

If you have normal skin, a lotion is a great choice to keep it hydrated all day without feeling oily. The lightweight consistency makes it easy to add to your daily routine.

Creams are excellent for all skin types, but they’re most beneficial for locking moisture into dry or flaky skin. If you suffer from a condition like eczemapsoriasis, or rosacea, moisturizing cream with the right ingredients might help soothe your symptoms.

Creams are also a go-to product for keeping your body smooth. After showering, you can lather with a moisturizing cream to soften your skin.

But honestly, who says you have to choose?

Most people benefit from keeping both cream and lotion on hand since each has its place in a well-rounded skincare routine. When you have both on your shelf, you can switch things up depending on your needs and preferences.

For instance, if you’re heading outside and are exposed to the sun, you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Sunscreen lotion is the best way to go here since it protects your skin without leaving it feeling greasy.

But when winter arrives and the cold wind bites, you might need a stronger defense against moisture loss, even if you don’t usually have dry skin. In this harsh season, a thick cream can help protect your skin and keep it from drying out too much.

Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right combination of skincare products that work best for you.


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